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Great news folks: AppStorm is back! After more than a year in limbo, the popular app review network has a new owner, a new team of eager writers, and a fresh new outlook.
As you may know, AppStorm closed shop back in January 2014. However, the network has now been taken over by business app discovery network, Nubera. We’ve been long-time admirers of AppStorm and the insightful reviews and useful advice it offers on Mac, Web, Windows, and mobile applications. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to continue the great work put in by previous owner Envato and its team of talented writers and reviewers.
Christmas time is here, and with that comes traffic jams in mall parking lots and the never-ending decisions over what gifts would be great for everyone on your Nice list. But playing Santa can be a rather hard job, especially if you’re trying to find something that’s special and unique.
It’s nearly impossible to buy gifts that are web app centric, unless you’re buying a Chromebook or perhaps a Firefox phone for a special someone, so we didn’t do a roundup of gifts just for web app fans. Instead, we’ve included a ton of geeky gifts in our roundup of gifts on Mac.AppStorm, and there’s a ton of stuff for everyone on your list. You’ll find the latest Doxies (great for scanning documents and saving them to your favorite web apps), the awesome Raspberry Pi (the $25 way to get online), and much much more.
If you’ve got some holiday shopping left to do for geeky folks, this is the list for you. Go check it out!
WordPress has grown and changed over the years, from a simple blog system into a full-fledged CMS. In that time, it’s gone from a basic white theme to a bright blue and then a more subdued grey and tan that we all know and love today. Along the way, it’s picked up a ton of features, and the world of computing has shifted from desktops to mobile and tablets. It’s time for some changes.
WordPress 3.8 is finally here today, and along with the extra new features and bug fixes you’d expect, it also includes a surprisingly nice new redesign that, while largely the same as before, makes the WordPress dashboard look far more modern and at home on any of your devices.
The simplest apps are typically designed for individuals. Everything from the original iPhone to minimalist writing apps to simple file sharing apps were designed to help you be more productive and enjoy your work better. Even Word started out as a pretty simple app that just ran on your personal DOS computer.
Then, over time, more and more features are added and the product goes enterprise. That used to always mean that the app would have way too many features aimed at businesses and be insanely complex for individual use, and someone would have to start the cycle all over with a new, simple tool. And yet, lately, a number of simple apps have started taking on business-focused features while still staying simple. It’s pretty magical to see.
Droplr‘s new Business plans are the original simple file sharing tool’s first shot at growing beyond their current file-sharing tool into something businesses rely on. Best of all, they’ve maintained their trademark simplicity while adding features that make sense for teams.
Trying to schedule a meeting at a time that's great for your team is difficult even if everyone everyone’s in the same city. But if your team works remotely — or you’re collaborating with a freelancer or company in a different country — you’ll need a lot more than just luck to get a meeting scheduled. And it’s not just meetings: if your family or friends live around the world, just planning a Google Hangout for the holidays can be quite the stressful undertaking.
There’s a ton of apps to help navigate the time zone issue, but the new World Meeting Time app is the best I’ve seen yet. Built by the Tectonica design team, World Meeting Time for once makes it simple to figure out what time it’ll be in any locations you need on earth at once. You just drag your markers to the spots where you and your colleagues live, and it’ll show the locations and current times on the left. Then, set your meeting time in your own personal local time on the top, and you’re set. You can then email each of the collaborators with the schedule right from the app, or use the time info on your own. It’s simple and easy.
Another great time zone app I’ve recommend for years is Every Time Zone, which is quite a great visual reference for the current time in major cities around the world. It’s what I use when I need to quickly think about times in other places without precise scheduling. But World Meeting Time has the edge in quickly finding the current time in a number of places at once, and the built-in email tool to finish scheduling the meeting seals the deal.
For your next conference call or family holiday video call, be sure to give it a try. It’ll help you keep your sanity without having to remember what GMT± everyone lives in.
Simplenote started out as a plain text notes app on the iPhone, one that was pretty breathtaking compared to the iOS Notes app and early contenders on the App Store. With its slightly skeuomorphic web app and fast sync with native apps on other platforms like the popular Notational Velocity and its forks, it became the notes app of choice for many of us. Yet, it started to grow a tad long in the tooth. Its parent company, Simperium, used Simplenote’s sync technology to help other developers sync data from their apps, and that took the focus away from the less profitable notes app.
Then early this year, Automattic — WordPress.com’s parent company — announced that they’d bought out Simperium and planned to make Simplenote better than ever. Their first investment into the app was giving it the domain name it deserved — Simplenote.com — but the app updates took a bit longer. But they were worth the wait. This fall’s brought a brand-new Simplenote for Mac app that was the first app to use the iOS 7 flat design on the Mac, as well as a redesigned Simplenote for iOS and Android with a similar beautifully clean UI.
And now, that same new design has finally reached Simplenote’s web app. Just head over to app.simplenote.com, login with your account, and you’ll see the same beautifully clean UI with your notes ready to search, view, and edit right in the cloud.
There’s little new in the new Simplenote, other than the new design. Everything else works the very same as before: you can search through your notes, share notes by adding your collaborator’s email address as a tag, format notes with Markdown, and even publish them online (though that seems to not be working just yet). It’s once again the nicest plain text notes app in the cloud. And, its new distinctive flat UI makes it look the most like an iOS 7 app on the web than anything else we’ve used other than the new iCloud web apps. It’s nice, clean, and still works great. And with the new apps, you can use Simplenote everywhere without needing 3rd party apps: on the web, iOS, Android, and the Mac.
The original plain text notes app is back and better than ever, and we couldn’t be happier. Be sure to try it out!
The PC isn’t dead — far from it, really — but it’s far from the most exciting thing these days. The best selling deices are mobile, and when they’re not tablets and smartphones they’re ultra-thin laptops that put the priority on battery life and portability over power. There’s apps for almost everything, and even if all you’ve got is a browser, there’s a web app for almost everything as well. It’s been a long time since it was an absolute necessity to buy a copy of Office to write a document or throw together a simple spreadsheet.
And yet, there’s still plenty of things that you’re apt to need a traditional computer for. Yes, you still might need a full copy of Office from time to time, and rendering a video might be rather slow from your tablet. Perhaps you’ll want to compile software, or crunch some numbers in Mathematica. For that and more — well, actually, all you need is the cloud.
Email’s the original online communications tool, but it hasn’t aged as gracefully as it counterpart HTML in browsers. There’s so many different email clients and oddities in email rendering — not to mention the fact that email should be mobile first these days, with over 40% of messages opened on a mobile device — it’s terribly difficult to make a rich email message that looks great everywhere.
On the web, you could hand-code a responsive site, or you could just use a framework like Bootstrap or Foundation as the base for your site so you can focus on your design and forget about the complexities of making it work great everywhere. And now, you can do the same thing for HTML emails with ZURB’s new Ink responsive email framework.